Background Information on Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Climate Change
The European Union (EU), as a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), reports annually on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories for the years 1990 to t-2 and within the area covered by its Member States (i.e. domestic emissions taking place within its territory).
The present inventory also constitutes the EU-15 submission under the Kyoto Protocol and covers information and data from Member States available until 15 May 2013. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-15 took on a common commitment to reduce emissions by 8 % between 2008 and 2012 compared to emissions in the ‘base year’ (1). The EU-27 does not have a common target under the Kyoto Protocol in the same way as the EU-15.
The legal basis for the compilation of the EU inventory is Decision No. 280/2004/EC concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol (2). The purpose of this Decision is:
- to monitor all anthropogenic GHG emissions covered by the Kyoto Protocol in the Member States;
- to evaluate progress towards meeting GHG reduction commitments under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol;
- to implement UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol obligations relating to national programmes, greenhouse gas inventories, national systems and registries of the EU and its Member States, and the relevant procedures under the Kyoto Protocol;
- to ensure the timeliness, completeness, accuracy, consistency, comparability and transparency of reporting by the EU and its Member States to the UNFCCC secretariat.
In 2013, the Decision was revised and replaced by a new Monitoring Mechanism Regulation, that has enhanced the reporting rules on GHG emissions to meet requirements arising from current and future international climate agreements as well as the 2009 EU Climate and energy package. Starting in 2014, inventory reporting will take place under this new legal instrument.
The EU GHG inventory comprises the direct sum of the national inventories compiled by the EU Member States making up the EU-15 and the EU-27. Energy data from Eurostat are used for the reference approach for CO2 emissions from fossil fuels developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The main institutions involved in the compilation of the EU GHG inventory are the Member States, the European Commission Directorate-General Climate Action (DG CLIMA), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM), Eurostat, and the Joint Research Centre (JRC).